Newspaper Article 1976 – William Nelson planned lovely Waikoko scene

Trade space in demand

This year there was an unprecedented demand for trade space at the Hawke’s Bay A and P Society’s Spring Show being held at the Tomoana Showgrounds.

The increase in the hire costs of smaller lots did not deter exhibitors. In fact, the demand was so great the side-show; and entertainment section had to be pushed further back from the centre of the ground to cater for this.

The secretary, Mr Keith Moody, said he thought the success of the show was attracting a cross-section of the community that made it well worth while for people to exhibit in the trades section.

Seventy five organisations are represented in the trade section, with a large number being machinery firms displaying their latest wares.

Visitors to this year’s show include the United Kingdom High Commissioner, Mr H. Smedley, the chairman of the New Zealand Meat Producers Board, Mr Charles Hilgendorf, and the chairman of the N.Z. Wool Board, Mr John Clarke.

The lamb-drinking competition again features in the show. There were moves afoot to drop it, but public demand has ensured it will be retained.

Although Waikoko House was burnt down, the beautiful gardens in the area have been maintained and the public are invited to walk through them.

Because of the fire the society has created a precedent this year in allowing a raffle to be run. The first prize is for a deep freeze and a dressed bullock, while the second prize is for a dressed bullock only.

The proceeds from this raffle, being run by the society, will go towards the Waikoko House restoration fund.

The auction of pigs and lambs will be held the first day. An auction of this nature is something the public do not always have the chance to see, and they are also quite free to bid for any of the stock themselves and have it killed.

Society members will get a bonus with their show tickets this year – a free round on the nine-hole Tomoana golf course, which since its inception has proved very popular.

An innovation at the show this year is the provision of an additional bar to cater for canned beer exclusively. This will be sited near the cattle pavilion and has been provided to relieve the pressure on the grandstand bar, which has tended to become overcrowded.

William Nelson planned lovely Waikoko scene

By Margaret Bingham

If church bells do not immediately ring in our minds when thinking of Mr William Nelson, of Toamona [Tomoana] fame, it is not so unlikely when we realise he also planned the lovely Waikoko grounds.

At all events he was definitely responsible for the bell in the Te Aute church.

His family came from Warwickshire and for some reason his mother had caused a church to be built near their home.

On going back there Mr Nelson had been looking forward to hearing his mother’s bell and was most disappointed to find that a peal of bells had been installed in its place.

Now Mr Nelson was nothing if not persistent and practical and he rooted round until he discovered the original bell discarded in some remote corner.

So back it came to New Zealand.

It is a nice touch to think that under his gruff exterior he not only loved a joke but had enough sentiment to install his mother’s bell on the pathway between the freezing works and his house – just so he could give it a dong as he passed.

However, it was not to be. Archdeacon [Samual] Samuel Williams had his eye on it. These two significant men were related through Mr Nelson’s second marriage and he had a habit of saying: “Well your Reverence, what do you want now?”

On this visit apparently “his Reverence” wanted the bell and just happened to mention that a bell was needed for the Te Aute church.

“Oh well,” said Mr Nelson, “I suppose you had better have this one.”

And that is where it is still.

An enlarged photograph of Archdeacon Williams was one of the few rescued from the recent fire at Waikoko, though why it was there is hard to explain.

The Te Aute church is the oldest one in the diocese; the earliest record being an Ormond wedding in 1859.

As the need grew so did the church.

The Rev. Samual Williams – afterwards Archdeacon came to found Te Aute college in 1854 and the original Te Aute homestead was in building in 1859.

Before that he had lived in a two-roomed raupo hut and later a third room was added. It was in this raupo hut that his son, William Temple Williams – the father of Mr Athol Williams – was born.

Then came the original house as shown in the photograph at top left with the remains of bush and, across the main North-South road, the swamp.

It was Mr Athol Williams who passed on to me the story of the bell.

Unfortunately there is no photograph of the old homestead which, judging by paintings, was very picturesque.

The present large, two-storied house (pictured at top right – built in 1892 – is hidden from the road by beautifully planted trees; on a rise, it commands views of the surrounding country. Through all difficulties it is still lovingly preserved and cared for.

There is no doubt Mr William Nelson was a mighty man, but the closer one gets the more endearing he becomes.

Actually, his second marriage – to Emma, the – daughter of Bishop Williams – [took place in the] Te Aute church in 1884; but possibly at that time the bell had not been installed.

We would like to think of him being married to the sound of his mother’s bell.

Amid the bustle a peaceful spot

Within the bustle of the show may be found a peaceful corner with rippling waters and melodious bird song.

This surprising exhibit of native bush and ferny dells by members of the Napier, Hastings and Havelock North branches of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society will be featured at Outdoor Expo.

A spokesman for the society, Mr Roy Peacock, Hastings, said the forest setting would house noxious and native animals.

A feature will also be illuminated display panels, depicting bird species threatened with extinction.

Of local interest will be a large-scale electronic guide to Hawke’s Bay reserves, accompanied by a photographic exhibition by Peter H. Hallet on some of our larger reserves.

“Skilled members will be available to explain and answer questions on conservation and the aims of the society or to advise on how to grow native plants.

“Foremost among these must be the society’s national conservation officer, Mr David Collingwood. He will be prepared to answer questions and speak on matters of national interest.

“For the person with farming or forestry interests, Mr L.T. Pracy, of the Agricultural Pest Council will address interested persons at regular intervals,” Mr Peacock said.

Photo caption – THE TE AUTE CHURCH, which is about 117 years old.

Original digital file



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Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

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Date published

18 October 1976

Format of the original

Newspaper article


The Daily Telegraph


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Margaret Bingham
  • John Clarke
  • David Collingwood
  • Peter H Hallett
  • Charles Hilgendorf
  • Keith Moody
  • Emma Nelson
  • William Nelson
  • Roy Peacock
  • L T Pracy
  • H Smedley
  • Athol Williams
  • Archdeacon Samuel Williams
  • William Temple Williams

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